Malecio is a 27-year-old farmer in rural Honduras who lives in a mountainous part of the country, three hours from the closest paved road, with his wife and two children. Earlier this year, Malecio heard about sustainable smallholder ag training through FRB’s Honduras-Nueva Frontera program. He was interested in the training because he had seen other farmers in the area using the new methods, and their crops looked and produced much better than his. So he got in touch with Cesar, an extension agent who works for CASM, FRB’s local partner.
When Cesar came to look at his farm, Malecio explained to him that he was planting only corn, beans, and coffee, the yields were never enough to make it through the year, and low coffee prices meant that he wasn't able to purchase the food his family needed in between harvests. Together, they put together a plan for Malecio's farm. As they worked on it together, Malecio learned that if he diversified his crops he would have food throughout the year, and that he could grow foods high in carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals that would give his children more energy.
In the plan you can see orange and lemon trees, a cherry tree, and where he is making compost for his vegetable garden. He would also like to add a chicken pen, but is still saving up for building materials.
Malecio also learned that if he plants his corn in rows he can intercrop vegetables and other crops in the spaces between plants. He now grows 27 crops, each one harvested at different times of the year. These include corn, beans, squash, lettuce, Swiss chard, mustard greens, onions, garlic, cabbage, lemons, cherries, oranges, plantains, bananas, sugar cane, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, and more.
Because of the diversity of crops and better yields, Malecio is able to feed his family and save the money from his coffee harvest to spend on things that will make life better for all. These include school fees for his children, medicine, a metal roof for their home and, in the future, chickens. Malecio continues to consult with Cesar, and accompanies him on visits to other farmers in his community to pass on his experiences and encourage them to learn.
Foods Resource Bank’s Honduras-Nueva Frontera program is led by Reformed Church in America/RC World Service, and implemented by Church World Service and local partner Mennonite Social Action Commission (CASM). Honduras-Nueva Frontera encompasses 14 communities, 626 households, and 3130 individuals.